Attitudes, drivers of consumption and taste preference – A focus on Chardonnay

This document is a compilation of reports from a project funded by the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation (GWRDC). I was involved in this project from the point of grant application development, through to research design, data collection and analysis, report writing, publication of findings, and finally a series of extension presentations and workshops that we held around Australia. I am listed as an author on two of the seven reports within this compilation. I also played an editorial role by liaising with authors, compiling and editing the reports, and having the compilation printed.


The main aim of this project was to determine consumer perception of Chardonnay. Through a multi-disciplinary approach using qualitative and quantitative methodologies we were able to determine that there is currently a negative perception conveyed in the media, and that some consumers ‘parrot’ that negativism when in social settings as a way of demonstrating their knowledge of Chardonnay.

We have shown that there are a range of Australian Chardonnay wine styles that appeal to consumers and provided some guidance on flavours that are positively viewed. Overall, it was shown that ‘taste’ was not the reason for decline in sales of Chardonnay. Next, we presented data from two ‘deception’ experiments, where we measured the influence of the perception of Chardonnay on taste preference ratings. Consumer responses showed that consumers do NOT rate the wines they taste lower when they are told that it is Chardonnay. This finding suggests that consumers do not currently hold general negative impressions of Australian Chardonnay.